Born in Prairie Village, Kansas, Nancy Opel made her Broadway debut as a “Person of Argentina” in the original 1979 production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita, and later in the run was the replacement for the leading role. In 1985, she originated the roles of Betty and Frieda in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. After appearing as the replacement for Hope Harcourt in the 1987 revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, Opel played Eleanor in Teddy & Alice, a musical that drew upon both the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt and his daughter as well as on the music of John Philip Sousa.
After some years as a featured performer in various series in the Law & Order franchise and appearing in numerous stage plays, Nancy Opel returned to the Broadway musical as Corine in Triumph of Love, an adaptation of the 1732 play by Pierre de Marivaux. In 2001, she originated the role of Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis. Her performance earned her a Tony® nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
In 2004, Nancy Opel played the Yente in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof.